Jarrett Johnson for Inside the Red Raiders
Tyler Shough announced he was entering his name in the transfer portal on Feb. 12 then declared he was transferring from Oregon to Texas Tech just 10 days later. The 6-foot-5, 221-pound right-handed quarterback threw for 1,703 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions with a 64.8% completion percentage in his career with the Ducks, including last season as the starter when he threw for 1,559 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games. He also led the Pac 12 in passing efficiency (160.4) and rushed for 271 yards and two scores.
Shough is graduating from Oregon with two degrees which makes him immediately eligible and he has three seasons of eligibility remaining meaning he might not just be “the man” behind center for Texas Tech next season but for multiple seasons to come.
The following is a transcript of the interview slightly edited for clarity:
Jarret Johnson: Tyler, how are you doing?
Tyler Shough: I’m doing good, Jarret. How about yourself?
Johnson: I’m good. I really appreciate you joining us, taking the time. I know you’re really busy and there’s a lot going on, but before we move forward at all let’s talk about your name, because I know Tech fans are going to see the spelling and want to know the pronunciation. I’m sure you get this a lot, but it is “Shuck”, right?https://20e566b82301faf4cc1998a1cb3858f0.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Shough: Right. Yeah, it is “Shuck”. Yeah, it does not look like it sounds. It should be S-H-U-C-K, but it’s pronounced “Shuck”.
Johnson: So how many times have you had to answer that question?
Shough: Probably my whole life. I don’t think I ever met somebody who got it right on the first try unless you knew me prior, but once it kind of sticks you kind of go with it. Everyone just calls me T-Shuck or just Shuck, but yeah, it’s definitely weird, but once you know it it’s kind of hard to forget.
Johnson: Tyler, can you give us an idea, first off why you chose Texas Tech and then how crazy the recruitment was? Because you announced you were transferring Feb. 12 and then pretty wham, bam came the announcement you were committing to Tech.
Shough: Yeah, it was crazy. Once I entered my name in the transfer portal there were probably 20-30 schools that contacted me immediately and Texas Tech was one of them. Texas Tech was probably one of the first ones. Coach Wells called me once my name was in it and we had a great conversation. Then ultimately what it came down to was after narrowing down the schools and places I felt like would be the best fit for me and the program it just came down to the opportunity to come in and compete, the relationship with the coaches and obviously the guys on the team and the culture of the team. Texas Tech, even from the outside, and obviously talking with some of the guys on the team it sounded like the place to be. They work hard. They want to win. They want to win badly. They’re not just in it to be on the team and have fun. I know a lot of other schools are just kind of just happy to be there, but Texas Tech definitely has a winning culture. I feel like all the coaches and players are in it to win it and they’re going to work their butts off to do that. I wanted to be a part of it, so I just wanted to come in and get out to West Texas and start throwing the ball around, start slinging it around a bit more.
Johnson: Tyler, a couple questions off what you just said; can you kind of add anything to what the coaches’ messages were, whether it be Cumbie or Wells and anything that stood out to you?
Shough: They never promised anything–none of the coaches throughout that process would ever promise anything–but what they did say was that they were really high on me and they were really honestly genuine and honest from the beginning. I’m not a high school recruit anymore. I know what it takes at the college level. I know how recruiting goes in high school and some of the things can be tainted at every level. So we were just open and honest about my situation and their situation and the team and the new coaching staff and the new OC. I had a great conversation with coach Cumbie. They are great people, great coaches. They’ve got a great offensive scheme, a great culture, so it was just all lining up for me for all of the things I was wanting to look for. Then obviously the guys on the team. The talent level on the team, even just watching film on it I was like ‘these guys are insane,’ all these West Texan dudes and even watching the skill level of the Big 12, a lot of people underestimate it, but it’s very difficult.
Shough: I know coach Wells and coach Luke Wells were at a Washington camp. I was at a small Washington Husky camp when I was in high school and they saw me there briefly, but nah, they didn’t recruit me much out of Utah State I don’t believe, but I knew of them. I knew they were there and that they were good coaches, but we didn’t have much correlation. Obviously coach Cumbie, we didn’t get a chance to connect at TCU, but once we did it was like ‘holy crap, you guys are people and honestly great coaches,’ so it was just ‘I’m glad I met you guys,’ and they were real from the beginning.
Johnson: Tyler, kind of give us an idea of what this is like in terms of the semesters out there and graduating, because I know from covering recruiting for 247Sports throughout the years that it’s very different out there (on the West Coast) in terms of transferring to the rest of the country. How close are you to finishing and what’s the timeline for you to actually get on campus at Texas Tech?
Shough: That’s a good question. I’m on the quarters system right now at Oregon and I graduate in probably about a week with my degree. Basically, once I get that transcript or once I get the message from my teachers that I passed my classes then I can start doing spring ball. I’ll probably be able to get in mid-spring ball after a couple practices.
Shough: I’m going to head to Lubbock pretty soon. I probably won’t be able to go in the facilities, but I can at least find a place to live and stuff like that. It’s definitely getting pretty soon and I think I can get in for spring ball which is great.
Johnson: So you say you can’t get into the facilities is that because of COVID protocol or what is that?
Shough: No, it’s just because basically I can’t be on the team unless I’m enrolled or something like that. I don’t know, it’s some compliance deal.
Johnson: Ah, eligibility and compliance. Yeah, sure. Those change all the time so it’s hard to keep up with it. You mentioned you talked with some of the players. Who are some of the players you talked to and was it FaceTime or Zoom or phone or DMs or what?
Shough: I DM’d, texted, FaceTimed, phone called pretty much all the guys. I mean I reached out to a lot of the o-linemen and wide receivers. I have been in close contact with Erik Ezukanma, Colin Schooler, Riko Jeffers, Dawson Deaton and Sterling Galban… a lot of the guys. I’ve reached out to a lot of them. They are all super down to Earth, super cool. They all obviously had great things to say about their team and are excited for me to come in which is great. That’s kind of what the biggest thing was, before I made the decision I was talking with some of those guys and just about how they feel about it and that was very encouraging as well. They’re definitely great dudes and I’m excited to work with them.
Johnson: Tyler, most of us have seen you play. I saw you play at Oregon, but from your perspective describe your game. What do you bring to the field?
Shough: I think I bring the ability to take shots down field, put the ball in play with my arm and then also make plays with my feet. It’s definitely not something I’m looking to do first, but I feel like this past year I’ve definitely grown in that aspect as far as extending plays and moving the ball down field. Obviously accuracy. At this point in time of my career I feel like I know what it takes to get to that championship level and I know what it looks like being around a lot of great teams and a lot of great coaches and players. I just feel like I know Texas Tech has that and I’m just ready to come in and work and honestly just prove myself and get better. That’s the main goal right now, to go in and work and get better and see what happens from there. I’m definitely excited about the opportunity.
Johnson: How do you feel like those skills fit in with Cumbie’s offense and what do you like about his offense in terms of how much you could know so far?
Shough: It’s very similar to a lot of offenses I’ve run in my past. He’s going to take shots down the field. He’s going to give wide receivers a lot of ability to get open, find green grass with a lot of YAC yards to be had. You’re basically just giving the ball to the playmakers and find a way to get guys open with mixing in some runs, mixing in some sweeps, mixing in some quarterback stuff. It’s a lot of great plays and I think all the guys on the team are excited about it because he’s had such great success at TCU prior and he’s been in the conference so he knows who he’s going against.
Johnson: I always like to ask athletes no matter the sport once they get to a certain level where they actually learned the game, who taught them and where did you get the love for the sport?
Shough: That’s a great question. The love for the game came probably when I was playing in like Pee Wee Football. I was knocking heads around. I played defense probably most of my career and I always played baseball. Then once I got into middle school and high school I started playing quarterback and I kind of fell in love with the process of that. Quarterback is interesting because it’s almost like playing tennis of being an archer–you’re trying to find ways to get in that flow state, get in the zone where you just feel like you can’t miss. It’s a constant, never ending chase of perfection. That’s just why I kind of fell in love with it. It’s just a constant need to get better and grow. Then my senior year of high school and in college is where I learned a lot of technical aspects as far as football, protection, reading coverages and stuff like that which is obviously a whole new world in itself. You kind of fall in love with it.
Johnson: You’re transferring in as a graduate and you mentioned you’re finishing classes here soon. What are you getting your degrees in and what do you plan on studying at Texas Tech?
Shough: I graduated in criminal justice and political science at Oregon. I double majored. I’m getting my master’s in interdisciplinary studies which is like a three-pronged master’s that you can take different areas. I think that’s what to start out in to get me in there, but it’s basically going to be a focus of criminal justice. After football ends one day I want to get into the FBI or another federal agency field. Texas Tech is a great school. That was another part of it as well. I only heard great things about their academic program and teachers as well so it was just hard not to come to Lubbock and obviously the city of Lubbock I’ve heard great things as well. It’s very similar to out here in Arizona and in the desert and West Texas and the kind of people. It’s definitely exciting.
Johnson: Tyler, I want to wrap this up with a couple recruiting questions because I spend a lot of time covering recruiting and have over the years. It’s really changed here with everything going on with the portal. It’s just been such a game changer and it’s so different than high school in my experience. With you being such a top level recruit, so heavily recruited coming out of high school and then one of the biggest names in the transfer portal this offseason, how different from your perspective, were those two experiences?
Shough: Oh, completely different. Once you get to college you know what you know, basically. A lot of kids out of high school just don’t understand what it takes. There are very few people who can obviously come in and just have great success–guys like Trevor Lawrence and those guys about what it takes to be in college. It’s also just understanding how to deal with coaches and recruiting. I mean in high school you come out thinking you want to go to the best place where you have great relationships with the coaches but then you find out coaches leave all the time. That’s probably the greatest thing in college football is change. You come into a place you look for great facilities or great fans or stuff like that, but all that stuff kind of comes and goes because it doesn’t really matter about the facilities because all you really care about is just playing on the football field. Obviously, I come from a place that has great facilities and all that stuff, but really I didn’t care what city or where I was going to as far as facilities, what colors… a lot of people fall in love with that aspect, but you just want to go somewhere where you have a chance to play and you know the coaches have your back and you know you can have success. That’s what it came down to coming around the second time. That’s what I was looking for and Texas Tech was the best opportunity for that.
Johnson: There were a lot of schools who were kind of attached to your recruitment once you entered the portal, but who were some of the schools you were hearing from and you actually considered before choosing Texas Tech?
Shough: I was deciding between Arizona, Cal, Michigan, UNLV, Auburn and there was a couple more, but really it was between those schools in terms of who I was serious with and Texas Tech was probably at the top of that list the majority of the time. There are a lot of great situations out there as far as chances to play, coaches, proximity and stuff like that but really none of those bring competition in question with Texas Tech. I definitely felt great about it.
Johnson: I don’t know how familiar you are with the history of Red Raider football just with all the quarterbacks of the Air Raid era, but of all the quarterbacks you are familiar with who would you say your game would remind Red Raider fans of?
Shough: That’s a difficult question. I’m not going to try and compare myself to guys who are in the NFL right now. Everyone’s different. I have had great conversations with guys like Davis Webb, he’s a great guy. I feel like he and I have similar statures. I haven’t watched him enough in college to compare my game to him and Patrick Mahomes is obviously on a different level of any type of quarterback in any generation. I would compare myself probably a mix between those kind of guys as far as running ability. I don’t know how fast Davis is. I can probably ask him about that, but Davis definitely has a tall stature and has a great arm. He’s very smart, too. I have watched a lot of tape on coach Cumbie as well. He’s extremely accurate so I’m excited to kind of learn more about the program and learn more about the culture of the quarterbacks. I just have that outside view of great NFL quarterbacks down the line.
Johnson: You mentioned Davis Webb. How do you know him? What’s your connection with Webb?
Shough: He reached out when I was kind of going through this process. He’s a backup for the Bills right now. He went to Cal. He went to Texas Tech. Those were two places I’m familiar with and was considering. He was talking to me about spring ball and how he didn’t go in for spring ball and he felt like it didn’t matter for him. He talked about Texas Tech. He talked about when he’s going to come down to Lubbock and we’ll get together and work out, hang out and stuff like that. He’s just a great mentor and friend throughout this process. Quarterbacks like to connect and talk about ball so we just kind of connected through the whole recruiting process, he became a great asset and he’s a great dude as well.
Johnson: Well Tyler, we really appreciate your time. Thank you so much and needless to say Red Raider nation is really excited about you coming to Lubbock and joining the football program
Shough: Yes sir. Thanks for having me, Jarret. I’m excited to get out there.